While countries around the world scramble to find new revenue streams, it turns out most are sitting on wealth they don’t even know they own. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor launched in October, analyses public wealth in 31 countries to find their assets worth $101 trillion or 219 percent of GDP. Dag Detter is a specialist in public commercial assets, and works as an adviser to local and national governments to help make their public assets work for the benefit of their citizens. In this podcast, Detter says countries could easily double the amount of money available for infrastructure if assets were properly managed. Detter is co-author of Unlocking Public Wealth, featured in the March 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Dag Detter and Stefan Folster's book The Public Wealth of Nations is published by Palgrave Macmillan.
PHOTO: The city of Boston is one of many cities worldwide to underestimated the value of its public assets. (iStock by Getty images)
Not everyone benefits equally from strong economic growth. And while most economists focus on optimizing policies to produce higher growth, economist Jonathan Ostry argues that it is how the benefits from that growth are distributed that will ultimately determine whether the growth will last. Ostry is deputy director of the IMF’s Research Department, and says the supply-side policies commonly prescribed by economists to increase growth often benefit disproportionately the wealthier segments of society and result in economies that are less resilient.
Jonathan Ostry is author of several books and articles on inequality, including Growth or Inclusion? featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine. Ostry’s latest book Confronting Inequality, which he coauthored with IMF colleagues Prakash Loungani and Andrew Berg, is published by Columbia University Press.
The IMF-World Bank Annual meetings bring together people from around the world to discuss issues that affect the global economy. This year’s meetings were held in Bali, Indonesia, and one issue at the top of the agenda was the rising backlash to globalization by workers who feel they’re losing jobs to trade and immigration. Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organization dispels those claims, and in this podcast, the IMF’s Camilla Andersen asks Azevêdo why he thinks international trade has been under fire of late.
PHOTO: Roberto Azevêdo, World Trade Organization’s Director General, says trade and immigration should not be blamed for employment woes. (IMF photo)
Oil prices have bounced back somewhat but the IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows why energy exporters shouldn’t get too comfortable. "The level of oil prices that we see currently don’t imply growth rates in the future that are high enough, and that are anywhere near what we had seen before the oil slump.” Papa N’Diaye is head of research in the IMF’s African Department, and in this podcast, he says while the macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen–thanks to ongoing reforms and stronger global growth, growth rates still fall short of what the region really needs. N’Diaye oversaw the writing of this latest regional economic outlook.
Photo: Now What? Growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa are too low to create enough jobs for its growing labor force. (iStock by Getty Images/peopleimages).
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les perspectives économiques régionales indique que la croissance s’accélère, grâce en partie, à la hausse du cours des produits de base. »En fin, la raison pour laquelle la croissance augmente c’est par ce que les pays exportateurs de pétrole se remettent peu à peu de ce choc avec le bénéfice des prix plus élevés du pétrole.» Papa N’Diaye, dirige la division des études régionales au département Afrique du FMI, et il dit que tandis que la perspective macroéconomique pour l'Afrique subsaharienne continue à se renforcer–merci aux réformes en cours et la croissance mondiale plus forte, les taux de croissance ne répondent toujours pas au besoin réel de la région. N’Diaye a supervisé la rédaction de cette nouvelle perspective économique régionale.
Photo: Et maintenant? La croissance en Afrique subsaharienne reste trop faible pour créer suffisamment d’emplois pour absorber l’augmentation rapide de sa population active. (iStock by Getty Images/peopleimages)
The IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report is a weather vane of sorts. It’s main objective is to spot shifting trends that could pose risks to the global financial system. Ten years ago, a volatile market and the subsequent collapse of a Wall Street investment firm led to a financial crisis that affected economies around the world. In this podcast, Fabio Natalucci says while that crisis is now well behind us, some dark clouds are gathering on the horizon. Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the overview chapter of the GFSR.
Fabio Natalucci, is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
In Japan, deaths outnumber births by 1,000 people per day on average. The population in some regions is now smaller than what it was in the 1950’s. The combination of its rapidly declining labor force—expected to fall even faster than the overall population, and the limited influx of immigrants, creates a powerful incentive for robots and artificial intelligence. In this podcast, IMF economists Todd Schneider and Gee Hee Hong say Japan has no choice but to embrace robots and automation to help the shrinking workforce become more productive. Schneider and Hong coauthored Land of the Rising Robots, an article featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Todd Schneider, is a Deputy Division Chief, and Gee Hee Hong, is an economist, both in the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department.
Jamaica’s economic reform plan launched back in 2013, has shown promise. Employment is at historic highs and external borrowing costs are lower than they’ve ever been. But economic growth is still slow, and the recent depreciation of the Jamaican dollar has turned attention to a shift in the Bank of Jamaica’s foreign exchange policy. In this podcast, economist Uma Ramakrishnan, says the central bank’s renewed commitment to its flexible exchange rate regime will help stabilize prices and spark growth. Ramakrishnan heads the IMF team for Jamaica.
Uma Ramakrishnan is a Division Chief in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department and heads the team for Jamaica.
It’s been ten years since Lehman Brothers—one of the largest firms on Wall street, was wiped out and closed its doors. Only two weeks before it filed for bankruptcy it held more than 600 billion dollars in assets. The fall of Lehman’s turned a volatile financial market into a full-blown panic and is widely seen to be what triggered the global financial crisis in 2008. In this podcast, IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde looks back at one of the most disruptive events in history for the global financial system.
Few would argue that workers’ remittances—the money migrants send to family in their home country—improve the lives of millions of people. Remittances amounted to over $400 billion last year. That’s somewhere between official development assistance and foreign direct investment in terms of size. These massive financial flows have important consequences for the economies that receive them. But in this podcast, IMF economist Ralph Chami says remittances can also have a negative impact on growth. Chami is coauthor, with Ekkehard Ernst, Connel Fullenkamp, and Anne Oeking, of Is There a Remittance Trap featured in the September 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Ralph Chami, is an assistant director in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development.
Chaque pays en Afrique subsaharienne a son propre ensemble de défis et de possibilités, La communauté internationale a beaucoup investi ces dernières années à savoir comment augmenter la croissance économique de la région, mais la majorité des Africains diraient que le développement de l’Afrique reste entre les mains de ses jeunes entrepreneurs. Mame Khary Diène est une de ces entrepreneurs du Sénégal, où elle transforme les graines de l'énorme arbre de Baobab en huiles exotiques pour la peau. L’huile de Baobab fabriqué par son entreprise est recherchée dans le monde entier. Mame Khary Dienne a été invité à parler de l'investissement privé en Afrique au cours des réunions de Printemps du FMI et de la Banque Mondiale.
Mame Khary Diène, fondatrice et directrice générale de Bio essence.
Each country in sub-Saharan Africa has its own set of challenges and opportunities. And while the international community puts a lot of resources toward trying to figure out how best to keep the region’s economies growing, most Africans would say that Africa’s development lies in the hands of its own young entrepreneurs. Mame Khary Diène, is one such entrepreneur from Senegal, where she found her first business opportunity in the form of seeds from the enormous Baobab tree–Senegal's national symbol. Diène was invited to join a panel discussion about private investment in Africa during the 2018 IMF World-Bank Spring meetings, and in this podcast she says small businesses are key to creating jobs for Africa’s expanding workforce.
Mame Khary Diène is Founder and CEO of Bio essence.
The IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter on private investment.
It’s been almost 25 years since the end of apartheid, the system of institutionalized racial segregation that left most South Africans with limited access to basic services. The post-apartheid years saw remarkable progress in poverty reduction, access to education and healthcare and reducing unemployment. But some of those early achievements have unwound recently amid slow growth and political uncertainty. The IMF’s latest assessment of South Africa’s economy projects real GDP growth will stay slightly below 2 percent in the medium term, not enough to increase living standards or make a dent in unemployment. Ana Lucia Coronel heads the IMF team for South Africa, and in this podcast Coronel says fighting corruption and improving education will help revive economic growth.
Ana Lucia Coronel is IMF Division Chief for the Southern Africa region and heads the team for South Africa.
Illicit financial flows have been under the spotlight recently. Both the Panama and subsequent Paradise papers exposed large amounts of money held in tax havens—some under questionable circumstances, and the United Nations has included tackling illicit financial flows as a target within its Sustainable Development Goals. In this podcast, the Center for Global Development’s Maya Forstater talks about how much or how little we really know about illicit financial flows. Forstater was invited to speak at the IMF as part of the Developing Economies Seminar Series.
Maya Forstater is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les perspectives économiques régionales de l’Afrique subsaharienne indique qu’avec l’adoption des bonnes politiques, la région pourrait globalement accroître ses recettes publiques de jusqu’à 5 % du PIB. Alex Segura est chef de mission pour le Gabon et il a dirigé l’équipe qui a écrit le chapitre sur la mobilisation des recettes fiscales en Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce podcast, Segura explique que les gens sont plus susceptibles de se conformer à leurs obligations s’ils sont convaincus que le fisc est équitable.
Alex Segura est conseiller au département Afrique du FMI.
The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa suggests better policy design could help countries increase tax revenues by as much as 5 percent of GDP. Alex Segura heads the IMF team for Gabon, and led the team of economists who wrote the chapter on raising revenues in the report. In this podcast, Segura says when people perceive that the tax system is fair, they’re much more likely to accept their tax obligations.
Alex Segura is an Advisor in the IMF’s African department.
Studying the market for salt in 19th century India and the effects on trade of a railroad built 150 years ago led economist Dave Donaldson to important new findings that are relevant today. Donaldson was the 2017 John Bates Clark Medalist, awarded for the most significant contributions by an economist under the age of 40. In this podcast, Donaldson talks about his work on trade and how it benefits economic welfare.
A profile of Dave Donaldson, Sherlock of Trade is featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Dave Donaldson is professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As economic advisor to the government of India, Arvind Subramanian helped design the country’s goods and services tax. In July of last year, the national GST replaced the patchwork of value-added, sales, and excise taxes levied by 29 states and the federal government. In this podcast, Subramanian discusses the benefits of the new tax with the IMF’s Chris Wellisz. He says the tax helped create a single internal market for the first time since independence. Their conversation is also featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor to the government of India
Estonians rarely stand in line for anything anymore. Estonia ranks among the most digitally advanced countries in the world and virtually all government services are now offered online. Estonia is also where Skype was born. In this podcast, Estonia’s Chief Information Officer, Siim Sikkut talks about how technology has transformed Estonia’s economy, and an e-residency program that is wooing more start-ups. Read more about Estonia’s remarkable digitalization process in the March 2018 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
Siim Sikkut is Estonia’s Chief Information Officer.
With public debt on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa, boosting the private sector has become more important than ever. Zhi Yong Heng is a private investor for TLG Capital, an investment firm that focusses on equity opportunities in Africa. In this podcast, Heng says investors are missing out on great investment opportunities because of misperceptions of the risks and the business environment in the region. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter on private investment.
Zhi Yong Heng is Head of Special Situations at TLG Capital
The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows a modest uptick in growth largely driven by stronger global growth and higher commodity prices. In this podcast the IMF’s Papa N’Diaye, says it’s time to implement reforms that will firm up the recovery. The study shows growth picking up from 2⅔ percent in 2017 to 3½ percent in 2018. N’Diaye heads the team of IMF economists who write the report and he says the uptick is good news for the region which has been experiencing a slowdown in economic growth over the last few years.
When people trust their government, good things happen. They’re much more likely to pay their taxes and support those large infrastructure investment projects that help economic growth. A new IMF paper on the institution’s role in governance issues shows that high corruption means less growth and more inequality. In this podcast, Lea Giménez Duarte talks about how Paraguay has benefited from a transparency law introduced in 2015. Giménez Duarte is Paraguay’s first ever woman finance minister, and joined a panel about transparency and corruption during the IMF World-Bank Spring Meetings.
Lea Giménez Duarte is Paraguay’s Finance Minister
The Global Financial Stability Report, or GFSR, is published twice a year and looks at the risks facing the global financial system. The objective is to prevent future crises by highlighting policies that might help mitigate some of those risks. In this podcast, the IMF’s Fabio Natalucci suggests investors stay attuned to risks associated with rising interest rates and protectionism. Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the overview chapter of the GFSR. The report also looks at crypto-assets for the first time.
Fabio Natalucci, is a Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
While the word hack sounds nefarious there’s nothing sinister about a hackathon. It is a creative brainstorming event that brings together people from the private sector, government, academia, civil society and technical experts to devise solutions to help governments raise revenues. In this podcast, economist Katherine Baer talks about her recent experience in hackathons in Senegal, Uganda and Ivory Coast, and how new technologies can help those governments collect more taxes.
Katherine Baer, Division Chief, IMF Fiscal Affairs department.
Economic shocks and climate change increase the risk of conflict. If current trends continue, 80 percent of the world’s poorest people will live in fragile states by the year 2030. This means the work of development will increasingly be about how to prevent conflict and how to achieve positive change in post-conflict and fragile states. In this podcast, DfID’s chief economist Rachel Glennerster, says economists need to get better at understanding these risks and predicting conflict. Before joining the UK’s Department for International Development, Glennerster was Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. She was invited to speak at the IMF where she once worked as an economist.
Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development- DfID.